Quote of the Day

"Buzz, buzz."--Hamlet

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

First Read:










This

&

This


Then you may go outside and play.


TS

Bloodthirsty














Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts says that last week's repeal of the Nebraska death penalty by the state's Legislature won't stop him from executing the 10 people still on Nebraska's death row.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Baseball

Watching the Giants tonight on the MLB.com free game.

The first MLB game I ever saw as a kid was in San Francisco, 1962.

Some things you just don't forget and can't get out of your system.

I suppose I'm a Giant forever if I'm a baseball fan at all.


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Borowitz

Just saw this, though it's a couple of days old.

New Yorker blogger Andy Borowitz lampoons John McCain.

Okay, so I like this brand of onionesque humor.




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Friday, May 29, 2015

Beyond the Dubious

In diplomacy, as in war (“diplomacy by other means,” according to Clausewitz), it can be useful to distinguish goals from strategies.

America’s goals in the Middle East are clear: it wants Middle Eastern countries to serve the needs of American capitalists and to advance their interests; and it wants to impose a pax Americana, a stable regional order maintained under American domination.

It has been this way since even before the end of World War II.

Years ago, the United States also wanted to replace Britain and France as the dominant Western power in the region. This was never a major concern, however; in part because, before World War II, making common cause with Britain and France against Germany was a higher priority.

Oh, my!  The truthiness of Andrew Levine.


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Who is Bernie?












People are silly and uninformed, something Juan Cole understands.

Bernie is a full-on modern moderate in today's political landscape.  It is the right that has moved into radical terrain with the Huckabee/Santorum theological mandate (similar to jihad), which is supported by all of the GOP presidential candidates--with the possible exception of Rand Paul, who has his own set of radical philosophies that scare Americans, particularly women.

While being earnest, Bernie's two areas of weakness--thus his undifferentiated radicalism--remain in plain view: his support of both military spending and Israel. On those matters he is no more advanced than Ted Cruz, et al, who are conservative twits writ large and infinitely more "radical" in substance than Sanders.


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Doc of the Day

This was a noteworthy doc. I watched it awhile back.

Can't recall whether I posted it here at the time, so...








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On the Flood















Chris Pilon of Houston filed this report today at my request:

We've had some pretty good thunderstorms, flooding. Monday night's storm was the killer. It woke me up a few times and I looked out at the streets and they were covered. We had a debris line more than halfway up our driveway. 

Vicky did not go into work till noon on Tuesday so she could give me a ride to my doctor and pharmacy, which was good. 

The storm has brought out a lot of wildlife. I was smoking a cigarette in the driveway at about 3 am and I noticed movement to my right and it was a large armadillo that walked 4 ft past and in front of me into the yard. It went around a tree as I walked onto the walkway to our front door and it then charged quickly towards me. I ran into the house to get my phone to record it but when I went outside again I couldn't find it. They can have leprosy on their claws and be rabid. 

Also a 4 ft snake swam by me in a coil-strike position. It swam into our garage.  A lot of snakes, alligators, turtles, frogs, cranes, human bodies in the water.

Thanks, Chris.  Glad you and Vicky are somewhat safe!


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Walking


Werner Herzog took a long walk during the winter of 1974.  He kept a journal and a few years later published it as "Of Walking in Ice."

It has recently been reissued by the University of Minnesota Press.

Here is a review from Slate.


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Yeah, Sure











A special report on our housing crisis.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown takes center stage in this report, underwritten by a major bank.

Who says these are not cynical times?


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Chris, Report In














Trying to get a status report from Chris in Houston regarding the great flood.  He and wife Vicky live in Missouri City, a Houston suburb.

Chris, send me an email if you can.


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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dinosaur Speak











(Collage by Buddy Dooley)

So I was just about to email Tony to say, “Sorry, you don’t want someone from the Jurassic era to talk about what’s happening to journalism in the digital era,” when I remembered one of my favorite stories about the late humorist Robert Benchley. He arrived for his final exam in international law at Harvard to find that the test consisted of one instruction: “Discuss the international fisheries problem in respect to hatcheries protocol and dragnet and procedure as it affects (a) the point of view of the United States and (b) the point of view of Great Britain.” Benchley was desperate but he was also honest, and he wrote: “I know nothing about the point of view of Great Britain in the arbitration of the international fisheries problem, and nothing about the point of view of the United States. I shall therefore discuss the question from the point of view of the fish.”

Bill Moyers discusses journalism and the individual.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hip Hip Hooray!











"Do we live in a country where 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent of the people vote?" Sanders asked. "Where we have serious discourse on media rather than political gossip? Where we're debating trade policy, we're debating foreign policy, we're debating economic policy, where the American people actually know what's going on in Congress?"

Bernie is in!  Come on America, this might be our last chance to elect a true moderate rather than a Kochsucker or Wall Street shill to be our president.

Bernie said a lot of the right things during his announcement speech, sans any rhetoric on war and immigration, of course.  He'll have to be very careful in those arenas, shape the message just right.

He'll get around to it.


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After Baseball

Do you ever wonder what former Major League Baseball stars do once their reflexes slow and their arms and legs betray them?

Randy Johnson is a photographer.

Gotta love his logo.


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Monday, May 25, 2015

Essay of the Day

Knowledge does not lead to wisdom. Knowledge is more often a tool for repression. Knowledge, through the careful selection and manipulation of facts, gives a false unity to reality. It creates a fictitious collective memory and narrative. It manufactures abstract concepts of honor, glory, heroism, duty and destiny that buttress the power of the state, feed the disease of nationalism and call for blind obedience in the name of patriotism. It allows human beings to explain the advances and reverses in human achievement and morality, as well as the process of birth and decay in the natural world, as parts of a vast movement forward in time. The collective enthusiasm for manufactured national and personal narratives, which is a form of self-exaltation, blots out reality. The myths we create that foster a fictitious hope and false sense of superiority are celebrations of ourselves. They mock wisdom. And they keep us passive.

Chris Hedges


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Poem of the Day









O Warriors!

what a sad ugly truth
that our government has sent
soldiers to die in vain

we don't admit it
because our wars
cannot be avoided

we don't admit it
because our wars
are always righteous

our soldiers are heroes
our soldiers are patriotic
our soldiers follow orders

the prior war is forgotten
by the time it's revealed
to be based on lies

and a great wind
of waving flags celebrates
the new and righteous war

which in turn will be forgotten
but not all the dead soldiers
who surely did not die

in vain

Charles Deemer


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Armed and Fanatical













(Photo by RP Thomas)

What must we do? First, we must learn the facts and face the truth that the US is the biggest war maker in the world. Second, we must commit ourselves and organize others to a true revolution of values and confront the corporations and politicians who continue to push our nation into war and inflate the military budget with the hot air of permanent fear mongering. Third, we must admit what our country has been doing wrong and we must make amends for the violence the US has waged on countries all over our world. Fourth, we must withdraw our military from all other countries, dramatically downsize our military, disarm our nuclear weapons, and truly stick to defending our own country. Fifth, we must work for peaceful, just solutions for conflict here at home and across our world. Only when we work for the day when the US is no longer the world leader in war will we have the right to pray for peace on Memorial Day.

Prof. Bill Quigley states his case.


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No Truth, No Picnic

How best to show respect for the U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and for their families on Memorial Day? Simple: Avoid euphemisms like “the fallen” and expose the lies about what a great idea it was to start those wars and then to “surge” tens of thousands of more troops into those fools’ errands.

First, let’s be clear on at least this much: the 4,500 U.S. troops killed in Iraq – so far – and the 2,350 killed in Afghanistan – so far – did not “fall.” They were wasted on no-win battlefields by politicians and generals – cheered on by neocon pundits and mainstream “journalists” – almost none of whom gave a rat’s patootie about the real-life-and-death troops. They were throwaway soldiers.

Ex-CIA guy Ray McGovern with a few words.


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Sunday, May 24, 2015

50 Years Ago















A 14 year-old and sworn Cassius Clay fan, I listened to the fight on the radio in rural Oregon and than waited anxiously for what seemed like a slow eternity for my Sports Illustrated to show up days later in the mailbox.

After that, I did not care that Clay changed his name and found the Muslim faith and resisted the draft while admonishing, "I got nothing against no Viet Cong.  No Viet Cong ever called me 'nigger.'"

I did care that he couldn't fight for a long time when the dust settled. That bugged me.  A lot of things began to bug me thenceforth, not the least of which was that I too had nothing against no Viet Cong, even though my country very much wanted me to blindly follow its leaders into a disaster.

For kicks, someone posted this link to When We Were Kings at another site.


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Americans in China














"This American Life," focused on ex-pats living in China, was exceptionally good this weekend. I highly recommend you listen to it if you haven't already.

Here.


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Friday, May 22, 2015

Y'all



Have a great weekend, y'all.


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Ichiro


As I remember it Ichiro appeared out of Japan, where he was already a legend and star, in his late 20s.

He dressed in Seattle the first time in 2001, joining a team destined for greatness--a team that never quite achieved its destiny, though it was very good and won 116 games that sad summer and fall while setting an all-time Mariners' attendance record.

He stayed over a decade in Seattle, too long, but the Mariners never bounced back from the breakup of the team. He moved on to the Yankees.

Today he added another footnote to his absurd career, this time as a 41 year-old playing out the string with the Miami Marlins.


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Memory



When you're feelin' funky
and I mean kinda blue,
you put this on and let it play through.

BTW, that's Ron Carter on bass.


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Email Beat Down



















(Collage by Buddy Dooley)

When a moderate attacks a genuine radical and subsequently runs for cover under the "I mistakenly thought we could have a conversation" blanket, topped with a bouquet of American exceptionalism, this is what transpires.

Most often, those desiring a "conversation," particularly in the political arena, merely want to assassinate you.

Sam, Chomsky killed you in self-defense, and he didn't start your mess.  Let it go.


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Tzara
















Tristan Tzara was born Samuel Rosenstock in Moine┼čti (a small town in Romania, some 200 miles north of Bucharest) on April 16, 1896. At the time, Romania was still using the Julian calendar. By the modern calendar, his birthday would be April 28, which, as Hentea points out, happens to be the day when the Romanian Orthodox Church celebrates the martyr Dada. (This is not a Dadaist joke.) Although he was born into an affluent middle-class milieu, Samuel lacked something important: a country. Until the end of the First World War, Jews in Romania were rarely citizens, even when they were born there, even after several generations. Those who did gain Romanian citizenship – for example, decorated war veterans or influential financiers – were naturalized on an individual basis, through a complicated legal procedure. Young Samuel must have found that unbearable, because around 1915 he decided he should have in his name what he didn’t have in real life: Tzara (“country”).

A TLS review of a new bio of Tristan Tzara.

To Make a Dadaist Poem

Take a newspaper.
Take some scissors.
Choose from this paper an article the length you want to make your poem.
Cut out the article.
Next carefully cut out each of the words that make up this article and put them all in a bag.
Shake gently.
Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag.
The poem will resemble you.
And there you are--an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

Tristan Tzara


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The Racket

Memorial Day commemorates soldiers killed in war.  We are told that the war dead died for us and our freedom. US Marine General Smedley Butler challenged this view.  He said that our soldiers died for the profits of the bankers, Wall Street, Standard Oil, and the United Fruit Company.  Here is an excerpt from a speech that he gave in 1933:

Remembering Gen. Smedley Butler.

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Indeed




















A memorable quote from Harper Lee, forwarded by Talent, Oregon's RP Thomas.


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Future

I went out tonight for the first time since my back pain started to disrupt my routine a couple of weeks ago.  It was nice to get out of my pad, into the sunshine and fair weather.

I sat with a budding journalism student on the patio of a nearby bar--conveniently about as far from home as I'm able to walk these days.

I learned the kid is going through a divorce, poor guy.

Making small talk, I mentioned to him that I was once a journalism student at Oregon, and he wanted to hear my memories of that experience.

I told him about the time John Kenneth Galbraith lectured in my class and everybody subsequently greeted him.  A highlight for me, right?

The kid had never heard of JKG, which sparked my curiosity.  I ticked off the names of a dozen other writers that I imagined a modern student of journalism might know.

He didn't know them.

He was enamored with the New York Times however, so I went there. He knew David Brooks.  But Maureen Dowd drew a blank.

Before hobbling home, I told the kid to forget journalism and read history.

I should demand payment for such wisdom.


TS

The Mindful

























Thanks to Tom Clark's Beyond the Pale.  A must-see blog entry.


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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

TV Tonight


On the boob tube tonight.

Trailer at YouTube.






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Them and the Other

It has long been said (maybe the renowned sociologist Vance Packard said it first) that Madison Avenue’s advertising campaigns pivot around man’s conscious or subconscious fears. Fear is the catalyst. Indeed, man’s fears, insecurities and regrets are what make possible the Art of the Sale.

Examples of fertile ground: The fear of not fitting in, the fear of missing out, the fear of driving an unworthy car, the fear of drinking an uncool beer, the fear of municipal drinking water, the fear of emitting “morning breath,” the fear of vaginas smelling like, well, vaginas. You name it, and a sharp-eyed marketer will find a way of making it scary.

Which reminds me of an old joke, but I'll spare you.


TS

Monday, May 18, 2015

35 Years Ago




















Mt. St. Helens was very, very angry.


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Good Question


Thus, we take another step deeper into the tragedy of U.S. intervention in the Middle East that has become a noxious farce.

The article by Jeff Faux.




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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Friday, May 15, 2015

$15 and a Dream












Why in the hell not?

These two ought to be the Demos in '16.  Leave Hillary out of the picture.

It's not a world-beater, but certainly better than the Kochsuckers from the right.


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Story


Here is the 1997 Vanity Fair piece about Richard Jewell, by Marie Brenner. Jewell, you may recall, was a wrongly named suspect in the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta that killed one and wounded many others.

A security guard working the Olympics site on the day of the bombing, Jewell was a hero too good for the FBI to believe.  Calling attention to a suspicious bag eventual confessed bomber Eric Rudolph planted in the park, Jewell and other security helped clear the area for 13 min. until the bomb finally exploded.

Jewell saved countless lives, but he FBI suspected he was a "lone hero" searching for affection, a "failed cop" seeking a name for himself.

The Atlanta Constitution carried the story into the mainstream.

Brenner's piece is working its way to the big screen.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill, who teamed together most recently on The Wolf of Wall Street, are set to star.

Jewell was pretty much tried and sentenced for the crime in the court of public opinion before the FBI cleared him the following year.  He subsequently sued a lot of people and institutions, winning a great deal of money which he said went mainly to his attorneys.

Richard Jewell died a decade after the Olympics bombing.  He was 44.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Brothers









Equally stupid brothers.


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stretching exercises

I'm like this guy, only 30 years older and bald.

Gotta start doing some stretching regularly.

Lose some weight.

Sitting at a desk 10 hours straight every day isn't good, either.

Might have to get my pot card activated.


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Friday, May 8, 2015

Mass Delusions

But Matt Stys, an Iraq veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War based in Colorado, told Common Dreams that the revelations point to something far more insidious: the permeation of military propaganda into every aspect of U.S. life.

"I think it's detrimental to the youth, specifically, seeing these images on a television of the NFL supporting the military," said Stys. "It indicates to them that adults think this is right."

"Should we be perpetuating war or should we be looking at peace, understanding, and education?" Stys asked. "We're not defending our country or freedom—we're destroying other countries and other countries' freedoms."

I cringe every year when Oregon plays its Spring Game to "honor the troops," which it started doing under Chip Kelly and carried over in the Helfrich era.

The idea has no redeeming value.  None.


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The Frauds

In recent decades, American politics have been dominated by a series of escalating ideological conflicts that have come to be known as “the culture wars.” And, with Christian moralizers like Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal entering the 2016 fray, this is unlikely to change any time soon. So, as we brace ourselves for another GOP primary defined by “traditional values,” one question it’s worth asking is: Do these conservatives (and their supporters) have any right to claim the high ground?

Republicans such as Huckabee and Jindal love to use their religion as a prop: They judge and preach and condemn under the cover of Christianity. And they assume this grants them a kind of moral superiority. Well, it doesn’t. Huckabee and Jindal are political hucksters. They fancy themselves Christians, but their preachments are foul and their values are un-Christlike. They are exactly what many other current GOP candidates are as well: political entrepreneurs. If they climb atop the Christian cross, it’s because they want to be seen by more people. They’re chasing votes, not salvation.

Hear, hear!  The word from Salon.


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No Pain, No Gain












I've been binge-watching television and movies at Netflix to take advantage of my free trial, and for another reason...

I have a bad back and it has knocked me down and nearly out. Came on as I spent the afternoon cooking on Wednesday.  Maybe I stood in one place for too long?

Every false move causes me wrenching pain, but if I sit still or lie down the discomfort diminishes.

Sitting down and standing up are the challenges.

Who put the grease on the down-slide?

I finished Bloodline's first season, moved on to the first and second seasons of House of Cards, which I avoided for a long time.

Lots of drama.

Best thing I've seen lately though is the doc about the Portland Mavericks, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, though two other docs, Muscle Shoals and 20 Feet from Stardom, are close seconds.

Hmm...I may have to go see that other kind of doc soon--maybe something is seriously wrong.


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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Mavericks

I finally watched "The Battered Bastards of Baseball," the story of Bing and Kurt Russell's Portland Mavericks baseball team that played in Portland for four seasons, 1973-1977.

I included a chapter on the Mavericks in my history of baseball in Portland last summer just as this film was being released.

While I covered some of the highlights of the Russells' tenure here in Portland, the film provides an in-depth look at why the Mavericks flourished in Portland at a time when the city was written off as a baseball town.

Fantastic film, I watched it at Netflix.














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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Huckster!!












Collage by Buddy Dooley

My favorite right-wing nutcase is in!

The field is growing nicely and will make for great entertainment down the road as the nutters try to clown each other into submission.

How many!?

We're not done yet, so a lot of potential fun remains.

Once Santorum and Christie jump in we'll be able to get serious about selecting a truly worthy asshole for the ages.


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Kill List













Collage by Buddy Dooley

American presidents reverently end their speeches with the audience-approving Benediction, “God bless America.” What they are really communicating is that God favors America. That, today, America is God’s chosen people. Even more! They are equating America with God. Which— in the magical twinkle of a rationalizing mind’s eye—means that America is God—white America, that is. As political leaders like to assert: America is today’s embodiment of Jesus’ teaching that “a city set on a hill cannot be hidden,” and by inference, his followers, “are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5: 14-16) With a “manifest destiny” that swept our white forefathers across the American continent, over the bones of indigenous people and on the backs of black persons forced into slavery—today’s continuation of which includes a trail of bodies, citizens killed by police “while being black.”

America also sees itself as “the leader of the free world,” possessing the gold standard of morality, and thus determining which countries need to be liberated and which are state sponsors of terrorism. America’s unmatched military force allows it to live in a parallel universe, and assume the role of judge, jury and executioner over much of the world with its economic power, sanctions and “kill lists.” A dominant majority of its citizens are conditioned to believe that they are the “good guys” and those who resist America’s policies “the bad guys.” All of which means that other people worship lesser gods, and therefore don’t count, and are disposable.

Rev. William E. Alberts unleashes his brilliance and exposes the heart of the matter.


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Monday, May 4, 2015

Before You Eat Them













It does not matter to the corporate rich who wins the presidential election. It does not matter who is elected to Congress. The rich have the power. They throw money at their favorites the way a gambler puts cash on his favorite horse. Money has replaced the vote. The wealthy can crush anyone who does not play by their rules. And the political elites—slobbering over the spoils provided by their corporate masters for selling us out—understand the game. Barack and Michelle Obama, as did the Clintons, will acquire many millions of dollars once they leave the White House. And your elected representative in the House or Senate, if not a multimillionaire already, will be one as soon as he or she retires from government and is handed seats on corporate boards or positions in lobbying firms. We do not live in a democracy. We live in a political system that has legalized bribery, exclusively serves corporate power and is awash in propaganda and lies.

Before you eat them, make the rich panic.  Chris Hedges on revolution.


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Saturday, May 2, 2015

As Usual













The 5K hardcore Timbers' Army fans are in Providence Park tonight as I briefly turn to the futbol stream. Noticed a lot of the dilettantish, more decorous fans are missing.  I see a lot of empty seats in the prime seating areas.

What a surprise.

The glow may finally be off soccer in Portland.  The Army can't support the franchise, as dedicated as it is.

The faddists have disappeared, a normal occurrence in everything.


TS 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Poem of the Day














Aubade

I work all day, and get half-drunk at night.
Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.
In time the curtain-edges will grow light.
Till then I see what’s really always there:
Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,
Making all thought impossible but how
And where and when I shall myself die.
Arid interrogation: yet the dread
Of dying, and being dead,
Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse
—The good not done, the love not given, time
Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because
An only life can take so long to climb
Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;
But at the total emptiness for ever,
The sure extinction that we travel to
And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,
Not to be anywhere,
And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,
A small unfocused blur, a standing chill
That slows each impulse down to indecision.
Most things may never happen: this one will,
And realisation of it rages out
In furnace-fear when we are caught without
People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.
It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,
Have always known, know that we can’t escape,
Yet can’t accept. One side will have to go.
Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring
In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring
Intricate rented world begins to rouse.
The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.
Postmen like doctors go from house to house.

Philip Larkin


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Funny


















Ohman worked for the Oregonian out of college for many years.  Now in Sacramento.

This is brilliant.  How do you move a designated behemoth out of the way when you're trying to change the status quo?


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May Day, 2015: Portland, Oregon

















Mayday! Mayday!
We're going down!

The bankers and the landlords
are taking us to town.

The police are serving discord,
workers are dying in the drown!

Mayday! Mayday!
The unions are busted!

The new jobs pay nothing
and the rents are entrusted.

The rich have the bling-bling,
the poor their grime encrusted!

Mayday! Mayday!
We're going down!


TS